Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Short Stories

It appears that what I think are my favorite types of books in the world seems to come in phases to me. In 2007, my Harry Potter phase pretty much ended (because all the books were written), along with my ASOUE (A Series Of Unfortunate Events) phase around that same time. Then in 2008 I started my Pendragon phase, which sadly ended last year ~,~ (but it was an awesome ride all the same! ^_^). By the end of that year, I began blogging and a new collective phase opened up: James Dashner books, the Twilight saga, and popular books recommended on other book blogs in general. Also really big books. I loved big tomes that I could spend more than one day on.

For much of 2009 and 2010, it was clear that I was in my graphic novel phase. Maybe my readers have noticed this? First there was Bone and Flight, and then Cirque Du Freak and Runaways, plus lots of others. I only post about the good ones though. I've probably read many more graphic novels than I've bothered to mention, because I always read them very quickly. So I can be in a bookstore or the library, and if I see a catching graphic novel, I'll read it in one sitting. And then I'll gobble up another, and another if I'm lucky. Yes, graphic novels are truly awesome. I love their quickness. ^_^

And now folks, you will be witness to the birth of another book-loving phase. Now I am in love with *drumroll, please*: The Short Story. Or to be more specific, the Short Story Collection. Here's what happened.

First, I came upon this book in the library. The curious cover caught my eye, and when I saw Diana Wynne Jones on the cover I got even more interested (name recognition). So I took it out. I'm quite glad I did. There's a lot of funny stuff in those 15 short stories + 1 novella. Characters, worlds, styles, situations, mostly different, but all thoroughly entertaining. ^_^ Just like a graphic novel, I read through them all pretty quickly, but I also took my time a little, taking breaks between stories.

The theme for each story was pretty much what the title says: Unexpected Magic. Which meant that in each story, the characters either try to use magic but it doesn't turn out the way they thought it would, or they're normal people who fall victim to strange occurrences. I believe my favorite stories were the couple that were told from a cat's point of view. I loved the way the cats thought and reacted to situations.

The next time I went to the library, I found 2 books entirely by chance. I don't really remember why I took them down from the shelf in the first place. I'd certainly never heard of a guy named Bruce Coville before. But they looked like thin quick reads, and the titles kind of caught my eye. Oddly Enough, and Odder Than Ever. Obviously, these books were part of a series. Then I saw that they were both short story books, just like the one Diana Wynne Jones wrote! Once I looked at the inside flaps of both books, I was sold.

As with Unexpected Magic, the title said it all. These stories, in one way or another, were odd. The characters were odd, or the whole situation was odd. The hero either meets, or becomes, something entirely strange. Mythical creatures like ghosts, vampires, werewolves, monsters, brownies, elves, and angels are covered in this book.

When the stories were supposed funny, I really enjoyed their humor. And when the stories were told in all seriousness, I appreciated the worlds and ideas that Bruce had come up with. Definitely a wonderful book to read. Which is why I was very happy that I had the foresight to take out the next book.

This was kind of more of the same, but the stories were all totally different. I loved them all a lot. ^_^ There's nothing more for me to say.

I didn't see this in the library, but I heard that it was another book in the Odd Story Collection series. I am definitely going to look for it next time I'm there, just because I loved the first 2 books, and because I am now crazy about short stories. ^_^

Really, you've got to read these books. They are all utterly amazing. Those short stories I read gave me lots of ideas, perhaps even inspired me, as a writer. They made me think about how you don't have to tell a story that spans 200 or 300 pages long. The story can be simple and to the point, and it can affect the reader just as much, in a fraction of the reading time.

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